March 16, 2019

So, unanswered questions.

The questions of my death are the questions of my life: what is best for my family, should I plant more squash this year, can I afford a new chainsaw, a new roof? Who needs to ponder the imponderable when you have so many ponderables to begin with. Those other questions, the death ones, remain unanswered and, most likely, always will because, for one thing, I don’t have too many of them (I can only think of one right this minute, and even that just slipped my mind), and, for another, I don’t bother too much with the ones I’ve got. I have no creed to guide me. Migratory creatures do not get where they’re going by reading the Bible, and neither do I. They home...

February 25, 2019

A few years ago, my wife, Jamie Donnelly, she of the double-wide smile and wide-river heart, sat beside the sickbed of a friend for a week as her friend gradually passed away. Transitioned. Jamie told me how they prayed and, when her friend’s strength allowed, sometimes even sang together each day until, finally, no more days, no more songs, no more no more.  I listened carefully as Jamie related all this, respectfully, because Jamie truly believes in ways that I do not, ways that give her comfort but, having tried, give me very little. I don’t have what she calls Faith. Nonetheless, I am not awash in existential despair, am not adrift and despondent, am, actually, in a pretty good...

January 30, 2019

How I Parted the Red Sea

Tale Two From The Trenches of Hollywood

Episode Two

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was at the typewriter (remember those?) in my office in George Roy Hill’s suite. Nobody else. Just me. Huge desk. Plush leather chair. Carpets that would cushion a rhino. Quiet as a monk’s cell at midnight. I’m working on “August King”. I don’t know how long – a long time – when I write I forget to move – I start to feel a little itchy. Gotta walk around. Gotta get out. So, go outside, start up my rental, click on the radio – Dr. Demento as I remember - go for a spin. A spin. Around the Universal lot. Only me. It wasn’t the gargantuan amusement park it is now – it wasn’t an amu...

January 28, 2019

March on Washington                                                                         

August, 1963

I was there, gray, summer weight suit, oxford button down, rep tie, cordovan wingtips, marching in the wet heat of August. Actually, it was more of a light-hearted stroll, if vigorous commitment can be labelled light-hearted which,...

January 20, 2019

Yet another true tale from the trenches of Hollywood

HOW I PARTED THE RED SEA

Tale Two

Episode one   

I really did not know how easy I’d had it breaking into the working ranks of screenwriters until years later when old friends who knew-me-when-and-well pointed it out. I’d never thought about it one way or another. It came about by a batch of random decisions not a focus of vision. Nonetheless, having Jennings Lang as your sponsor was like having a Navy Seal at your side in a bar fight. Jennings Lang was a Great White. I just didn’t know it, yet. We’d met, and, yes, there was now a three picture deal – think very low five figures. That was then (actually, it could still be now...

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